To view updates relevant to individual states and territories, please visit our COVID-19 Updates by State page. For a comprehensive list of COVID-19 updates, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre.
This is a list of frequently asked questions we have received from members regarding COVID-19. It was last updated on 3 August 2020.
Can I treat?
To date, we now have formal confirmation from all states and territories that remedial massage and myotherapy are deemed essential services. The status of this is subject to change as new Department of Health directives are released and revised. We recommend looking at our 'COVID-19 Updates by State' page to find all the latest updates relevant to your state.
Who can I treat?
While this does change by state, we recommend only treating clients in instances where it will provide a health benefit. In most instances, relaxation massages should not be considered until restrictions are lifted. You should also keep in mind restrictions that have been placed on locations such as aged care facilities and be mindful of venerable demographics such as aged persons, cancer patients and the autoimmune.
Are there any time restrictions on treating?
There are no time restrictions in place, however, you may want to consider limited exposure to clients if possible.
How long do I need to wait between each client?
There is no set time you need to wait between each client. You should take as long as is required for you to be able to properly clean and maintain your hygiene and infection control and to ensure the 1.5 metre social distancing requirement is adhered to in waiting areas. Consider leaving more time between each client to ensure you have enough time for necessary cleaning.
Will I get fined for treating?
It is up to each state's police force on how to interpret the Department of Health directives. If you are concerned we recommend contacting your local police station to ask how they interpret the government directives.
What level of hygiene and infection control do I need to maintain when treating?
Consider the following as a minimum:
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds between every client.
- Wipe down any surface with antibacterial solution that has been touched or may have been touched by you or your client.
- Change the towels between each client and ensure that they are washed in hot water (minimum 60°C) with soap or detergent before using them again. (You can refer to our Best Practice Draping Techniques HALO Module to learn what best practice draping standards, processes and protocols look like).
Watch our video with Dr Norman Swan to learn more.
The Association also recommends the COVID-19 Infection Control Training Module provided by the Department of Health.
What questions should I add to my Informed Consent form?
If you have not already, consider adding the following questions to your Informed Consent form:
- Have you felt any feverish symptoms or experienced any coughing in the last 48 hours?
- Have you travelled overseas anytime in the last 14 days?
- Have you been in contact with any confirmed COVID-19 cases?
Watch our video with Dr Norman Swan to learn more.
Isn't it impossible to adhere to social distancing as a massage therapist? I can't give a massage while 1.5 metres away from my client!
The 1.5 metre rule for social distancing does not apply to trained healthcare professionals treating clients. Ensure you adhere to strict hygiene and infection control and update your informed consent. To find out more about social distancing read this social distancing guidance information sheet released by the Department of Health and make sure you are complying with the section titled 'Social distancing in the workplace'.
What PPE is required for treating?
Surgical masks, while not a requirement by law, can be helpful for healthcare professionals. Gloves are not a requirement as washing your hands regularly with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds is more effective than wearing gloves. Watch our video with Dr Norman Swan to learn more.
Update: Beginning at 11.59pm on Sunday 2 August, it will be a requirement of everyone who lives in Victoria, including regional Victoria, to wear a mask or face covering when they leave their home for one of the outlined four reasons.
Do I need to restructure my waiting room?
If you do have a waiting room you are required to restructure it in order to comply with social distancing requirements. Reorganise the waiting room so that there is at least 1.5 metres of space between each patient. Remove magazines any anything else likely to be touched by multiple patients. Regularly clean furniture with alcohol wipes. It is recommended to space your appointments further apart to reduce the number of clients in the waiting room. Watch our video with Dr Norman Swan to learn more.
What financial assistance and support is available?
We have a list of external support websites on our COVID-19 Resource Centre that you can visit. You can also read up about our Member Care Package to see what your Association is doing for you directly.
What is the difference between Jobkeeper and Jobseeker?
Jobseeker is for individuals who are unemployed or are unable to work. Jobkeeper is for sole traders as well as businesses who can apply for on behalf of their individual employees if they meet certain criteria.
Am I eligible for either Jobkeeper or Jobseeker payments?
If you cannot work right now you may be eligible for Jobseeker payments. Click here to find out more.
Business owners and sole traders who have been affected by COVID-19 may be eligible to apply for Jobkeeper. To learn more about employer eligibility click here. To learn more about employee eligibility click here. Information for sole traders can found here. (More guides can be found here.)
What is my Association doing to help its members?
We have deferred financial members' renewal fees for three months, effectively providing an additional three months of membership. We are also providing a free monthly webinar as well as free and discounted HALO modules. For full details on what your Association is doing to help our members please visit our Member Care Package webpage.
Does my insurance cover for COVID-19?
This depends on your insurer and coverage. We are recommend discussing this with your insurer.
Can I operate my mobile service?
During mobile service, you may be unable to maintain the necessary hygiene and infection control needed to work in someone else's house. You need to strongly consider this factor before you consider resuming mobile treating.
Can I massage out of my own home?
This could vary depending on the state but if you need to ask yourself if you are able to maintain necessary hygiene and infection control required in a clinical setting in your own home before you consider if you can treat out of your home. Does your home meet the Clinical Settings Guidelines?
Where can I find Clinical Settings Guidelines?
You can find them here under the heading titled 'Other'.
Remedial massage therapy and myotherapy are not registered health practices and hence are not considered an Allied Health or medical service under the relevant legislation regardless of how you practice.
Are the Private Health Funds still providing rebates?
As of 30 July 2020, we have received confirmation that every Private Health Fund except the funds under ARHG are currently providing rebates as normal. Funds under ARHG are assessing rebates on a case by case basis and may require a manual receipt. A full list of the funds that operate under ARHG can be found in your Membership eKit.
Can I get the Government statement that says I can work/where is the evidence that says I can work?
Where possible we have provided links to the respective Department of Health statements. These can be found on our COVID-19 Updates by State page. Some of our confirmations were received via emails from Department of Health officials which we will not release for privacy reasons. We are working with each state's Department of Health to provide written confirmation for each state and will update our COVID-19 Updates by State page with any updates we receive.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is the process of providing medical care and advice by phone or online video call. Visit the Department of Health website which provides some definitions of what constitutes telehealth services.
Is Telehealth a viable option for massage therapists?
This is entirely up to you and your situation. Please note that the Private Health Funds have confirmed that they will not offer rebates for Telehealth.
I can't find an update you sent me. How can I find it?
With so much information currently available it is easy to lose updates you remember receiving. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre for a comprehensive list of our COVID-19 updates.
Why am I not getting these updates by email?
We are sending all relevant updates to members by email. If you are not receiving them it is possible that they are either going to your junk folder or you unsubscribed from the emailing list at some point. To ensure you are signed up for email updates, log into our website and access our member portal. Then under 'Membership Tools' select 'Manage My Communications'. Make sure the box next to 'Important Info from your Association' is ticked.
Another possibility is that the email address you have registered with is no longer current. To double-check the email address you have registered with us, log into our website and then click 'Update Personal Details' in the member portal.
Why hasn't my Association told me whether I should be open or closed?
From the start, it has been the Association's view that we are not in a position to be able to tell our members whether they should be open or closed, nor is it our place to do so. The circumstances of every one of our members is different. Only you know your circumstances of you and your business and are able to make that decision.
The Association cannot, and will not direct members to close their business. It is the responsibility of each member to consider their clients, their vulnerability and own health based on the information within the health updates and make an informed and educated decision on their own individual risk assessment.
The Association will inform members of any directions issues by the Department of Health in each state indicating that massage therapy and myotherapy are non-essential.
My state says I can reopen but I do not feel comfortable doing so at this time. Am I required to reopen?
You are under no requirements to reopen at this time. All of our members live in different circumstances. You need to make the decision that works for you and your business and you should only go back to treating clients you feel comfortable doing so.
My employer is forcing me back to work, what do I need to do?
The Association recommends, if you haven't already, that you should have a discussion with your employer outlining how comfortable or uncomfortable you are with the prospect of returning to work. If your employer is still demanding that you return to work against your wishes you are within your rights to contact the Fair Work Ombudsman.
What about pregnancy massage or other modalities?
To date the Association has not received any clarification on pregnancy massage or other modalities, only remedial massage, therapeutic massage and myotherapy. We recommend contacting your state or territory’s Department of Health to determine if your modality is allowed at this time.
Where can I find COVID-19 awareness posters for my clinic?
To download the 'Ensuring a Safe Environment' posters and Social Media Tiles click here (to access this page you must be logged into our website.) There are also a number of great resources on the Australian Government Department of Health website including posters. These posters can be found by clicking here.
Am I required to check the temperature of my clients before they enter my clinic?
Temperature checks are not a requirement at this time but may be implemented at the clinic’s discretion. If you are considering implementing temperature checks in your clinic please consult your state or territory’s health department on the appropriate measures that need to be taken. Please note that temperature checks are not replacement for physical distancing and hygiene and infection control requirements.
Will using creams or massage oils on my hands be able to replace regular hand washing?
There is no evidence to suggest that creams or massage oils can be used as an effective substitute for properly washing your hands with soap and water. Watch our video with Dr Norman Swan to learn more.
Beginning at 11.59pm on Sunday 2 August, a new State Government directive will require everyone who lives in Victoria, including regional Victoria, to wear a mask or face covering when they leave their home for one of the outlined four reasons.
Does my client need to wear a mask?
Beginning at 11.59pm on Sunday 2 August, it will be a requirement of everyone who lives in Victoria, including regional Victoria, to wear a mask or face covering when they leave their home. In other states and territories, mask wearing is at the discretion of you and your clients.
Do I need to provide masks for my clients?
This is at your discretion. If you are in Victoria, the Association recommends that you do not treat any clients who are not wearing a mask unless they have a valid reason for not doing so, as per the direction of the State Government. A list of valid reasons for not wearing a mask can be found here.
Where can I buy masks?
The Association will not be providing a list of surgical mask suppliers as this is a personal purchasing decision that all Victorians are required to make and the Association is unable to recommend any suppliers over any other suppliers.
The Department of Health and Human Services Victoria announced that all health care workers in Victoria are now required to wear a level 1 or type 1 disposable surgical mask in public-facing areas. Does this apply to massage therapists?
The Association has confirmed with the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria that the requirements listed in this update are directed to front-line healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses and those who administer COVID-19 tests and thus are likely to come into contact with COVID-19 infected patients as part of their natural duties, and does not apply to massage therapists treating clients. The Department of Health and Human Services Victoria would also like to point out that level 1 or type 1 disposable surgical masks are in limited supply and are required for those who are administering COVID-19 tests for their protection.
In Victoria mask wearing is now compulsory when outside of the home. The Association recommends that members follow best practice and personal safety standards to protect not only yourselves, but your clients and your family.